Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A crime paper flourishes by printing mug shots

If “Jerry Springer” came in newsprint, The Slammer could be it – a garish compilation of the week’s local crimes and their alleged perpetrators. The men and women, with their dour mugs, bloodied noses, and booze-induced grins, have been arrested for everything from skipping a court date to robbing a food mart. It is, in essence, the local police blotter writ large.

To devoted readers, The Slammer and similar publications – like Cellmates in Florida’s Tampa Bay area and Jail in Orlando – perform a valuable public service, putting the gritty side of life on display and even protecting the community from predatory criminals.

...At a time when dozens of US newspapers are searching for buyers and for cash, The Slammer’s newsstand profit margin is four times that of most local dailies, and its circulation has grown to 29,000 – up nearly 50 percent from 20,000 just last year. At more than 500 convenience stores across North Carolina, it’s selling at a buck a pop.

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